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December 27, 2007

Facta non verba - or a little less conversation, a little more action

Since at least the Romans, as a civilisation we've valued actions over words - we see it in many aphorisms, "deeds not words", "actions speak louder than words", "talk is cheap" and even the recently popular Elvis number "a little less conversation, a little more action".

Of course, we also as a civilisation also value words - "the pen is mightier than the sword" and all that - and rightly too. But it's the balance of words and actions that we need to get right.

Increasingly this year I've been thinking about the issue - in the context of the web design and development world, in particular the online communities which revolve around these practices, the blogs, mailing lists and other forums we frequent.
And ironically for someone who runs conferences, and speaks not infrequently at them as well, who has written many thousands of words online, and whole books for heaven's sake, I think we are getting the balance wrong. At times, I feel we have a little too much conversation going on, and maybe not quite enough action.

In many ways, it's probably a function of the central role blogging plays in this world. And central to blogging is the written word - typically the thoughts of an individual. Actions are on the other hand a little more nebulous, harder to follow, to keep track of. And so words get amplified (and attention, the lifeblood of blogging), and a much better return on investment than say submitting a bug report to Mozilla, Opera, Safari, or other browser project that has open bug tracking, or writing a CSS test case. These tend not to get too many Diggs.

I've tried to address this balance in my professional life by making a lot of what I write very practical, and by developing tools like XRAY and MRI with hopefully more in that vein on the way.
With our conferences, we try to balance the educational and practical with the inspirational and visionary, the "walk" with the "talk".

So here's my own new year's resolution, and hope for the coming year. That we balance the talk with the walk a bit better, that we realize and put into effect the reality that a lot of what we believe makes the web a better place is hard graft - developing standards that stand the test of time, promoting those standards with clients, colleagues, friends and family, writing code, testing software and standards - and this is often unsung and hardly glamorous, but in the long run is worth on average a whole lot more than yet another blog post about what is going wrong with the web.

December 27, 2007 | Permalink


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*found myself here follow threads relating to W3C HTMLWG*

It's late; I just finished brewing some beer.

Nazi EU soccer fans on TV documentary have drained my brain for the moment.

Allow me this, an "old Chinese saying" attributed to Confucius: "When was is said is not what is meant then what need be said is left un-said, and what should be done is left un-done."


Posted by: Ben Tremblay | Jan 8, 2008 3:50:18 PM

I can see progress even on programs.

Posted by: arizona merchant accounts | Mar 1, 2011 6:13:14 PM

I think we are getting the balance wrong. At times, I feel we have a little too much conversation going on, and maybe not quite enough action, or drame in many life facts but if, like someone said don't hate when you are angry, it's the same like said don't said yes when your happy.

Posted by: generic cialis | Apr 16, 2011 12:02:53 AM

well this is one of those rare cases in which you can say "man this is better than original version" most of the cases end in a total piece of crap, but not this time.

Posted by: 4rx | Oct 26, 2011 2:19:57 AM

haha in some way yeah, but sometimes if you want to take care of yourself is better to shut up.
Fashion has become something that "tells" people who your are or what you are, is very sad to see someone like this.

Posted by: Indian Pharmacy | Nov 16, 2011 12:55:29 AM